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Ajit K. Srivastava, Carroll E. Goering, Roger P. Rohrbach, and Dennis R. Buckmaster. 2006.

Agricultural Mechanization and Some Methods of Study. Chapter 1 in Engineering Principles of


Agricultural Machines, 2nd ed., 1-14. St. Joseph, Michigan: ASABE, Copyright American Society of
Agricultural and Biological Engineers. (Corrected reprint 2012).

AGRICULTURAL
MECHANIZATION
AND SOME
METHODS OF STUDY
INTRODUCTION
Many factors have contributed to agricultural mechanization. Reducing human
drudgery, increasing productivity, improving timeliness of agricultural operations such
as planting and harvesting, and reducing peak labor demands are among the most com-
pelling. Farm work is physically demanding and the working conditions are often harsh.
It is less strenuous to drive a tractor than to till the soil with a spade all day long. A trac-
tor pulling a plow can cultivate a larger area than a human with a spade in the same
amount of time, thereby increasing productivity and timeliness. Timeliness is an impor-
tant factor in agricultural production. Completing certain farming operations such as
planting and harvesting in a timely manner increases yields and improves profitability.
Farming operations are seasonal with fluctuating labor demand. More labor is needed
during planting and harvesting than during other periods of plant growth. This fluctua-
tion in labor demand creates labor management problems. With mechanization it is pos-
sible to reduce peak labor demand and maintain a more stable labor force on the farm.

1.1 HISTORY OF MECHANIZED


AGRICULTURE
Even though great changes have taken place in the field of agriculture, soil still has
to be tilled; seeds still have to be planted in the soil; the growing crop still has to be
tended and cared for; and the crops still have to be harvested and threshed. However,
the manner in which these operations are performed have changed drastically.
One of the earliest plows used to till soil was a wooden plow pulled either by hu-
mans or draft animals. As we learned to work with steel, moldboard plows were de-
veloped. The moldboard plow was a major development, since it turned the soil for
better weed control and soil aeration. The seeds were planted by broadcasting them by
hand. A major development in planting occurred when we learned to plant seeds in
rows using dibble sticks in the early stages and later on with planters. Planting in rows
had the advantage of controlling the plant population and facilitated better weed con-
trol during the plant growth period.
2 CHAPTER 1 AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION AND SOME METHODS OF STUDY

Crop harvesting was done by hand using sickles or scythes. The cut crop was bun-
dled and carried to a central location where it was threshed either by beating it with a
stick or by having hoofed animals walk on it. The threshed crop was separated from
chaff and straw by winnowing in natural wind. The threshed crop mixture would be
slowly dropped from a height and the wind would blow the chaff and small pieces of
straw away leaving the clean grains to fall in a pile. The process was repeated until the
grain was totally free of chaff and other debris. Later, the grain was cut by mowers
that used a reciprocating sicklebar. The crop was still bundled by hand. Reapers com-
bined the cutting and binding process in one machine. The development of steam en-
gines made it possible to develop stationary threshers. Stationary threshers were used
to thresh a bundled crop at a central location. The cleaning operation was still done by
winnowing but it was done by a fan instead of the natural wind. The development of
the internal combustion engine made it possible to combine the cutting, threshing, and
cleaning functions. The name combine became popular because the machine com-
bined the three operations.
The power for early farming operations was primarily human labor. Later, draft
animals were used as the source of power. Horses, water buffalo, oxen, camels, and
even elephants were used as power sources. Mechanical power became the primary
source with the development of steam engines in 1858. In 1889 the first tractor with an
internal combustion engine was built. Tractors powered by internal combustion en-
gines were lighter and more powerful than steam-powered tractors. In the 1930s the
high compression diesel engine was adopted for tractors and became very popular.
Todays modern tractor is a very sophisticated machine with hydrostatic drive, elec-
trohydraulic servos to control draft force and the operating depth, and an ergonomi-
cally designed, climate-controlled operators station. Developments in technologies
such as global positioning systems (GPS) and geospacial information systems (GIS)
have led to the development of what is commonly known as precision agriculture in
which soil variability and fertility data are stored in an on-board computer that con-
trols the application rate of chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.
It needs, however, to be pointed out that in many parts of the world, especially the
Third World countries, animal and human labor continue to be the major source of
power for farming operations. Even in the most advanced countries, manual labor is
still used for fresh-market fruit and vegetable harvesting operations because of the
delicate nature of the products. The level of mechanization depends upon the availabil-
ity of human labor and the level of industrialization within each country.
Mechanization of agriculture was an important factor in reducing labor demands
for farming and making it available to develop other industries. In 1900 nearly two-
thirds of the U.S. population was engaged in farming. While only 3% of the American
population is engaged in production agriculture now, an American farmer produces
enough food to feed 60 people and one farm family can manage up to 1200 ha of
farmland. Agricultural mechanization has transformed American agriculture from sub-
sistence farming to a major industry. Today, in monetary value, exports from the agri-
culture sector are second only to the sale of weapons to foreign countries.
Mechanized agriculture is, however, energy and capital intensive. Energy costs and
the availability of capital to buy machines determine the level of mechanization in a
ENGINEERING PRINCIPLES OF AGRICULTURAL MACHINES 3

society. Thus, production agriculture is facing many challenges. Rising energy costs,
greater competition in the global marketplace, and the growing concerns for the envi-
ronment pose new challenges that agricultural engineers must face to keep agriculture
productive and affordable. The area of agricultural machines is dynamic and will con-
tinue to evolve to meet the changing needs of production agriculture.

1.2 FARMING OPERATIONS


AND RELATED MACHINES
Plants are the primary production units of agriculture. They receive carbon dioxide
from the air through their leaves, and receive water and nutrients from the soil through
their roots. Using carbon dioxide, water, nutrients, and solar energy, plants produce
seeds, fruits, roots, fibers, and oils that people can use.
The growth of plants happens in nature without any human intervention. However,
agriculture arises when people exert control over plant growth. Machines are used as
an extension of peoples ability to produce and care for plants. This book focuses on
many of the machines used by farmers to produce crops in plant agriculture.
A crop is a group of similar plants which are growing within the same land area.
For example, if a farm produces rice and wheat, that farm is said to produce two crops.
A farmer must complete certain operations in order to successfully produce a crop.
The first operation is a mechanical stirring of the soil, called tillage, to prepare the
seed bed. The second operation is called planting and it places the seeds in the tilled
soil at the correct depth with the appropriate spacing between seeds. When the re-
quired soil temperature and soil water content are present, the seeds will germinate
and then grow leaves and roots. For some crops the seeds are planted in a small area
called a nursery and then the small plants are transplanted to the fields where they will
grow to maturity.
As the plants grow the farmer must protect them from pests such as weeds (un-
wanted plants), insects, other animals, and diseases. Mechanical cultivation (tillage
between the plants) is used to control weeds in some cases. Chemicals are frequently
used to control weeds, insects, and diseases. Fences and/or noise-making devices may
be used for protection from larger animals.
The final crop production operation is the harvesting of the plant parts which have
economic value for the farmer. In some cases, more than one part of the plant may
have economic value. For example, a farmer may use rice straw (stems and leaves) as
an energy resource after the rice seeds have been removed from the plants. In other
cases, the crop residue (unused plant parts) is stirred into the soil during tillage for the
next crop.
The period of time on the calendar which passes from the beginning of the planting
operation until the end of the harvest operation is called the growing season. The
weather in some tropical farming areas is such that the growing season is continuous.
In these areas, a crop can be planted any time during the year, and it can be harvested
whenever it is mature. In many farming areas, however, the growing season is re-
stricted because of weather conditions. For example, the planting operation may begin
during spring when the soil temperature is increasing, and the harvest operation is
4 CHAPTER 1 AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION AND SOME METHODS OF STUDY

Table 1.1. Example of a crop rotation with four crops.


Year Area 1 Area 2 Area 3 Area 4
1 Crop A Crop B Crop C Crop D
2 Crop B Crop C Crop D Crop A
3 Crop C Crop D Crop A Crop B
4 Crop D Crop A Crop B Crop C
completed during fall before cold weather begins. In other climates, the growing sea-
son depends on rainfall patterns with the planting operation done at the beginning of
the rainy season so that the plants have adequate water for growth. Some farming ar-
eas have weather conditions which cause a short growing season that allows only one
crop per calendar year, while other areas have a longer growing season which allows
two or more crops each year from a given field. When the growing season is weather
dependent, the planting and harvesting operations are very labor intensive in order to
complete these operations in a timely way. If planting and harvesting are not com-
pleted in a timely way, the crop yield will be lowered.
Agricultural crops such as rice and wheat are annual plants which have one harvest
after each planting. The annual plants die after they reach maturity and a new crop
must be planted before another harvest can be achieved. Crops like hay (used for live-
stock feed) are perennial plants which live for several years and can be harvested sev-
eral times after a single planting operation.
Field crops include grains, hay, and sugar beets, while horticultural crops include
fruit and vegetables. The crops which farmers choose for their own farm depends on
soil type, climate, labor availability, machine availability, profit potential, social cus-
toms, government programs, and the farmers skills.
Many farmers produce more than one type of crop during each calendar year. For
example, a farm may be divided into four land areas with a different crop grown on
each of the four areas. Alternating these crops in a fixed sequence is called a crop ro-
tation and an example is illustrated in Table 1.1. Using a crop rotation spreads the
farmers work load over a longer period of time and reduces the economic risk in case
one crop fails. A good crop rotation can also improve crop yield and the soil. Crop
rotation affects the set of machines that must be available on the farm. For example, if
wheat, corn, and soybeans are all grown, then the farmer needs a grain drill and a row-
planter to plant crops, and a grain head and a row crop head as attachments to the
combine to harvest crops. A broad selection of machines adds to capital cost and must
be taken into account when selecting a crop rotation system.

1.3 FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS OF


AGRICULTURAL MACHINES
An agricultural machine has components that work together as a system in order for
the machine to perform its intended function. Any machine, however simple, may be
divided into many subcomponents. To understand how a machine works, consider the
machine as a collection (or system) of several subsystems made up of components and
subcomponents. In this section, we will learn how to identify the various systems found
in a modern agricultural machine and the functions performed by the subsystems.
ENGINEERING PRINCIPLES OF AGRICULTURAL MACHINES 5

SYSTEMS OF AN AGRICULTURAL MACHINE

Agricultural
Machine

Support System Process System

Frame Power Control Revers- Non-re- Non-di-


ible versible rectional

Figure 1.1 Systems of agricultural machines.

It is often useful to look at a complex machine, such as an agricultural machine, as


including two kinds of systems: process systems and support systems. The process
systems are those components of the machine that actually perform the function(s) that
the machine is designed to perform, i.e., cut, separate, mix, etc. The support systems
are the parts that support or aid the process systems in performing their functions.
Process systems may be divided into three types: reversible, non-reversible, and
non-directional. Reversible processes include processes such as separation and com-
paction. Non-reversible processes include cutting and grinding. Examples of non-
directional processes are conveying, metering, and storing materials.
Support systems may be divided into three subsystems: the framing, control, and
power subsystems. The framing system consists of all structural parts of the machine
that hold pieces together so they function properly. The control system provides con-
trol over the process system. Controls may be automatic or manual. Power systems
supply the power to the process systems. Self-propelled machines contain both the
power source (the engine) and the power transmission devices (the drivetrain). Ma-
chines that depend on the tractor as a power source contain power transmission de-
vices such as chains, belts, gears, PTO shafts, etc. Together these devices form the
power system, which drives the process system.
A breakdown of the types of systems found in an agricultural machine is given in
Figure 1.1. This illustration should aid in developing the concept of the agricultural
machine as a system.
1.3.1 Basic processes of agricultural machines
In this book we will concentrate on process systems of agricultural machines. The
process systems of a machine include all parts that perform reversible, non-reversible,
or non-directional processes, whereas these processes are the functions the machine
was designed to perform. For example, the hay baler was designed to package hay
material in the form of a bale so it can be transported and stored for later feeding to
animals. In order to perform this task, several processes must be performed on the hay
6 CHAPTER 1 AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION AND SOME METHODS OF STUDY

Table 1.2. Basic processes of agricultural machines.


Non-Reversible Non-Directional
Reversible Processes Processes Processes
Mix Separate Dissociate Convey
Fluff Pack Cut Meter
Pickup Deposit Crush Store
Scatter Position Grind
material. They include non-reversible processes such as cutting, reversible processes
such as pickup and compaction, and non-directional processes such as conveying and
metering of hay. Table 1.2 lists the processes commonly found in various agricultural
machines. The reversible processes are listed in opposing pairs under the appropriate
category in the table. The list is not comprehensive, but it includes most commonly
found processes in modern agricultural machines.
1.3.2 Process diagrams
An exercise that can be helpful in understanding the operation of an agricultural
machine is to draw a diagram of the processes that occur in the machine. The diagram
is formed by following the flow of material through the machine and listing the proc-
esses in order. The processes can be connected with lines to indicate the flow of the
material through the machine.
Any of the processes can occur either totally within the machine or with machine
mobility as part of the process. For example, the forward motion of a baler is essential
to pick up hay. However, after hay is picked up, it will be baled regardless of the for-
ward motion of the machine. When machine mobility is a part of the process, the
process is, in this book, enclosed in a box. A process occurring totally within the ma-
chine is enclosed in a circle or an oval.
A few examples should be helpful in understanding the concept of process dia-
gramming. A good first example is the moldboard plow. The first step is to determine
what processes occur as the plow moves through the soil. As the plow moves forward,
the soil is cut, picked up, positioned, and deposited. The second step is to determine
whether the processes are dependent upon forward motion. In the case of a moldboard
plow, all functions would cease as soon as the plow is stopped. The process diagram
for the moldboard plow is given in Figure 1.2. The processes of picking up and posi-
tioning occur simultaneously and, therefore, are diagrammed as a pair.
A more complex machine to diagram is the conventional hay baler. The processes
that occur in the machine are pickup, convey, meter, cut, pack, bind, convey, and de-
posit. The process which is dependent upon forward motion of the baler is pickup. The
process diagram is given in Figure 1.3.

Pick up
Cut Deposit
Position

Figure 1.2 Process diagram for a moldboard plow.


ENGINEERING PRINCIPLES OF AGRICULTURAL MACHINES 7

Convey
Pick up Cut Pack Bind Deposit
Meter

Figure 1.3 Process diagram of for a hay baler.


The concepts of machine systems and process diagramming are introduced here as
tools to aid students in learning more about the makeup and operation of agricultural
machines. It is hoped that these concepts will provide a new and more interesting way
to study agricultural machines, or any machine for that matter.

1.4 DIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS


Engineers like to develop predictive models to study a process or a phenomenon. Ide-
ally we would like to develop a model that is based on the natural laws that govern the
process. For example, to predict the droplet size and its distribution in a sprayer nozzle
we need to understand basic fluid mechanics and the physics of a jet breakup in another
fluid such as air. However, this can be a very complex process and does not lend itself to
easy modeling. In cases like these another technique which is often useful is dimensional
analysis. In dimensional analysis we need only to identify all pertinent physical quanti-
ties that influence the process. We then combine these quantities in groups so that each
group is dimensionless. Experiments are then carried out to develop a power law model
to relate the dependent dimensionless group to the independent ones. Dimensional
analysis can be applied to highly complex processes to develop a prediction equation;
however, the basic underlying natural laws are not necessarily revealed. It is, however,
better than regression models in that the number of variables that must be studied are
reduced substantially. Below is an abbreviated discussion of dimensional analysis.
1.4.1 Scope
Dimensional analysis is a method by which we deduce information about a phe-
nomenon from the single premise that the phenomenon can be described by a dimen-
sionally correct equation among pertinent variables.
The result of a dimensional analysis of a problem is a reduction in the number of
variables in the problem. This results in a considerable savings in both cost and labor
during the experimental determination of the function.
1.4.2 Physical dimensions
Scientific reasoning is based on such abstract entities such as force, mass, length,
time, accelerations, velocity, temperature, specific heat, and electric charge. Each of
these entities is assigned a unit of measurement. Of these entities, mass, length, time,
temperature, and electric charge are in a sense independent and their units of meas-
urement are specified by international standards. Furthermore, specified units of these
entities determine the units of all other entities. There is, however, nothing fundamen-
tal in the set of entities, mass, length, time, temperature, and electric charge. A great
many possibilities exist for choosing five mutually independent entities. Frequently,
unit of force is prescribed, rather than the unit of mass. The unit of mass is determined
8 CHAPTER 1 AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION AND SOME METHODS OF STUDY

by Newtons law, F = ma. In this case the system of measurement is called a force
system. Dimensions are a code for telling us how the numerical value of a quantity
changes when the basic units of measurement are subjected to prescribed changes. The
symbols [F], [M], [L], [T], and [] have been employed to denote dimensions of force,
mass, length, time, and temperature, respectively, and any entity that has no units is
denoted by [1] (Table 1.3).
Table 1.3. Dimensions of entities.
Mass System Force System
Length L L
Time T T
Temperature
Force MLT-2 F
Mass M FL-1T-2
Mass density ML LF-4T2
Pressure and stress ML-1T-2 LF-2
Energy, work ML2T-2 FL
Viscosity ML-1T-1 FL-2T
Mass movement of inertia ML2 FLT
Surface tension MT-2 FL-1
Strain 1 1
Poissons ratio[a] 1 1
[a]
Any ratio of like-dimensioned quantities (i.e., unitless) has the dimension of one.

1.4.3 Units of measurement


CGS (Centimeter Gram Second) System SI (International) System
Force, measured in dynes, is defined as the Force, measured in Newtons, is defined
force required to accelerate a 1 gram mass as the force required to accelerate a 1 kg
with 1 cm/s2 acceleration. Thus, the weight mass with 1 m/s2 acceleration. Thus, the
of a gram mass is: weight of a kilogram mass is:
W = mg W = mg
= (1 g) (981 cm/s2) = (1kg) (9.81 m/s2)
= 981 (g . cm/s2) = 9.81 kg m/s2
= 981 dynes = 9.81 Newtons
U.S. Customary System Conversion Factors
Force = pound (lb) 1 m = 3.281 ft
Length = foot (ft) 1 ft = 0.0348 m
Time = second (s) 1 kg = 0.06852 slug
Mass, measured in slugs, is defined as that 1 slug = 14.594 kg
mass which will require a 1 lb force in 1 Newton = 0.2248 lb
order to accelerate with 1 ft/s2 accelera-
1 lb = 4.448 Newtons
tion. Thus, the weight of 1 slug is:
W = mg 1 C = 1.9 F
= (1 slug) (32.2 ft/s2)
= 32.2 (slug ft/s2) = 32.2 lb
ENGINEERING PRINCIPLES OF AGRICULTURAL MACHINES 9

1.4.4 Developing a prediction equation


A critical step in dimensional analysis is to decide what physical quantities enter the
problem. It is important that there be no redundancy and that no pertinent quantities
are left out. To list pertinent variables, it is useful to develop an understanding of the
basic phenomena or laws that affect the system. For example, let us consider that we
want to develop an equation to predict the period of oscillation of a simple pendulum,
that is, a mass is attached to one end of a string while the other end is attached to a
support in a way such that the mass is allowed to swing with no friction. We will also
neglect the aerodynamic effects. An equation of the following form may be written:
= C la mb gc (1.1)
where T = period, a time entity denoted by dimension [T]
C = a dimensional coefficient denoted by dimension [1]
l = string length, a length entity denoted by dimension [L]
m = mass, an entity denoted by dimension [M]
g = acceleration due to gravity, denoted by dimension [LT-2]
a, b, and c = dimensionless exponents
Substituting the dimension of each physical quantity in Equation 1.1 we get:
[T] = [1] [L]a [M]b [LT-2]c (1.2)
It may clarify the next step to place the [L] and [M] dimensions on both sides of the
equation, each with a zero exponent:
[M]0 [L]0 [T] = [1] [L]a [M]b [LT-2]c
Then, collecting and equating the exponents of the above equation we get:
for [M]: 0 = b, because the [M] exponent on the left is 0 and the [M] exponent on
the right is b;
for [L]: 0 = a + c, thus a = c, because the [L] exponent on the left is 0 and on the
right the collected [L] exponents are a + c; and similarly,
for [T]: 1 = 2c
c = 1/2
a = 1/2
Substituting the values of a, b, and c in Equation 1.1 we get
1 -1/2
= C l /2 m0 g

or T = C 1/ g

T
or = C (1.3)
l/g

Note that the quantity on the left hand side of Equation 1.3 is a dimensionless
group. Also note that mass, m, dropped off. This is true since we know that the period
of oscillation does not depend on mass as heavier objects do not fall faster. The coeffi-
cient C needs to be determined experimentally. We know from mechanics that the
10 CHAPTER 1 AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION AND SOME METHODS OF STUDY

value of the constant is 2. Also note that we began with four physical quantities and
we reduced the equation by three (a number equal to the number of basic dimensions
in the problem) to one dimensionless term in Equation 1.3.
1.4.5 Buckinghams Theorem
Buckinghams Theorem states that If an equation is dimensionally homogeneous,
it can be reduced to a relationship among a complete set of dimensionless products.
Suppose that we are interested in the drag force, F, acting on a sphere of diameter,
D, submerged in a fluid with an average velocity, V, and having density, , and vis-
cosity, . Consider tentatively the relationship:
F = C Va Dbc d (1.4)
where C = dimensionless coefficient; and a, b, c, d = dimensionless exponents.
In order for the equation to be dimensionally homogeneous both sides of the equa-
tion should have the same dimensions. This is similar to checking your units in a com-
plicated equation; they must be the same on each side. This is accomplished by replac-
ing the variables by their dimensions (Table 1.3) in the above equations. (Note that we
use the force system since our objective is to develop a prediction equation for drag
force. This can be done in the mass system, but the result will not be intuitive since
force will need to be expressed as mass times the acceleration.) Replacing the vari-
ables by their dimensions results in:
[F] = [1] [LT-1]a [L]b [FL-4T2]c [FL-2T]d (1.5)
for [F]: 1 = c + d
for [L]: 0 = a + b 4c 2d
for [T]: 0 = a + 2c + d
a=2d
b=2d
c=1d
Substituting the values in Equation 1.4 we get:
d

F = C V 2 D 2 (1.6)
VDP

F PVD
rearranging, = C (1.7)
PV 2 D 2

F
Note that the pressure coefficient, = 2 2
, and the Reynolds number,
PV D
PVD
N Re = , can be substituted into the rearranged equation, which then simplifies to:

= f (N Re ) (1.8)

where f is any general function.


ENGINEERING PRINCIPLES OF AGRICULTURAL MACHINES 11

Both , the pressure coefficient, and NRe, Reynolds number, are dimensionless
quantities. In general, a dimensional equation can be reduced to dimensionless quanti-
ties (call the pi-terms) related by a general function f. Notice that there are only two
terms in the dimensionless form of the equation (Equation 1.8) whereas there are five
variables in the dimensional form (Equation 1.7).
Stated generally, Buckinghams Theorem allows us to conclude that if n variables
are connected by an unknown dimensionally homogeneous equation, it can be ex-
pressed in the form of n r dimensionless products, where r is the number of basic
dimensions.
We follow up with Equation 1.7 while noting that the projected area of a sphere is
A = (1/4) D2. Substituting, we obtain:
F 1 8
= f (N Re ) (1.9)
PV 2 A 2
8
The term f (N Re ) is called the drag coefficient, CD. Thus, the equation for drag on a

sphere can be written as:
1
F = C D PV 2 A (1.10)
2
where CD is a function of NRe. It is plotted in Figure 1.4. The figure is an experimental
graph for smooth spherical bodies. It gives complete information concerning the drag
forces on smooth spherical bodies of all sizes in an incompressible fluid with any
speed of flow. To provide the same information without using dimensional analysis
would require about 25 graphs that would show separately the effects of each of the
variables V, D, , and .

3
2
Log CD

1
0
-1
-2
-2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Log NRe
Figure 1.4 Drag coefficient as a function of Reynolds number
for smooth spherical bodies.
12 CHAPTER 1 AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION AND SOME METHODS OF STUDY

1.4.6 Systematic calculation of the dimensionless products


Consider the problem of computing dimensionless products of variables P, Q, R, S,
T, U, V, whose dimensional matrix is given below:
k1 k2 k3 k4 k5 k6 k7
P Q R S T U V
M 2 1 3 0 0 2 1
L 1 0 1 0 2 1 2
T 0 1 0 3 1 1 2
The first step is to calculate the r, rank of the matrix. The determinant to the right
hand side of the matrix is:
0 2 1

2 1 2 =1 (1.11)

1 1 2

Since the determinant is not zero, r = 3. The number of dimensionless groups is the
number of variables minus the rank of the dimensional matrix, i.e., the number of di-
mensionless groups, or 7 3 = 4. The corresponding algebraic equations are:
2k1 k2 + 3k3 2k6 + k7 = 0

k1 k3 + 2k5 + k6 + 2k7 = 0

k2 + 3k4 + k5 k6 + 2k7 = 0
There are seven variables in the above three equations. This implies that four vari-
ables may be assigned any arbitrary values and the other three may be solved using the
above equation. Since the value of the determinant as computed above corresponds to
k5, k6, and k7, is non-zero, we will use these as dependent variables. In other words, k1,
k2, k3, and k4 may be assigned arbitrary values and k5, k6, and k7 may be solved explic-
itly. While any value may be assigned to k1 through k4, it is prudent to select a set of
values that results in simplicity in calculations.
Let k1 = 1 and k2 = k3 = k4 = 0 and find k5 = 11, k6 = 5, and k7 = 8. Similarly, let
k2 = 1 and k1 = k3 = k4 = 0 and find k5 = 9, k6 = 4, and k7 = 7.
The above procedure can be repeated and the solutions arranged as follows:

Solution Matrix
k1 k2 k3 k4 k5 k6 k7
P Q R S T U V
1 1 0 0 0 11 5 8
2 0 1 0 0 9 4 7
3 0 0 1 0 9 5 7
4 0 0 0 1 15 6 12
ENGINEERING PRINCIPLES OF AGRICULTURAL MACHINES 13

From the above matrix the dimensionless products can be written as follows:

PU 5 V 8 QT 9
1 = 2 =
T11 U4V7

RU 5 V 7 ST15
3 = 4 =
T9 U 6 V12
These products are linearly independent of each other. Using these dimensionless
terms the following prediction equation can be written:

1 = C a2 3b c4 (1.12)

1.4.7 Transformation of dimensionless products


New dimensionless products can be determined by forming the products of powers
of the old terms. For example, the following set of dimensionless products may be
transformed if necessary:

PF P P 2g
1 = 2 = V3 3 = L3
2 g 2

Suppose we have determined that is not important. Even so, we cannot drop all
terms containing . Instead, we transform the existing set in such a way that appears
only in one group, which can then be discarded if necessary. This is done as follows:
1 F
1* = =
2 32 PV 2 L2

VLP
*2 = 2 3 =

22 V 2
*3 = =
3

where * denotes the transformed dimensionless products. Now appears only in one
term, which we may decide to disregard in order to simplify the investigation.

PROBLEMS
1.1 Show by dimensional analysis that the centrifugal force of a particle is propor-
tional to its mass, proportional to the square of its velocity, and inversely propor-
tional to radius of curvature of its path.
14 CHAPTER 1 AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION AND SOME METHODS OF STUDY

1.2 Complete a dimensional analysis to predict the traction force of a wheel on soil.
With the help of your instructor identify soil properties that should be included in
dimensional analysis. Express the prediction equation as a function of dimen-
sionless groups.
1.3 Suppose it is desired to obtain an expression of the draft force of a tillage tool
operating in soil. List all variables that affect the draft force and complete a di-
mensional analysis of the problem suitable for plotting data from experimental
tests.
1.4 An agricultural spray nozzle is used to atomize fluid in air. Complete a dimen-
sional analysis to predict the droplet mean diameter of the spray.